I. TΗE Names. It may be called in the Greek,Περσιυφεια δ πξρσεα, from the Peach Tree, its Leaf being like to a Peach Leaf: In Latin, Persicaria, and by some Plumbago: In English, Mild or Spotted Arsmart, and Peach-Wort. (Polygonum persicaria, Polygonum lapathifolium. -Henriette.)
II. The Kinds. There are two Principal Kinds.
- 1. Persicaria maculosa Anglica, in English, Spotted Arsmart, lesser and greater.
- 2. Persicaria maculosa Virginiana, The Virginian Spotted Arsmart, which is also twofold, with White Colored and Flesh-Colored Flowers.
III. The Descriptions. The first of these has a long Root with many threads and strings thereat, from whence rises up several Jointed Stalks, smooth round and hard, of a light green or reddish Color, especially at the Joynts, which are manifold: from whence springs several smooth long Leaves, almost Peach fashioned (whence came the name Peach-wort,) broad towards the Foot Stalk, after declining Pyramidally to a Point, being even on the edges without any cut or dent, and having thereon (for the most part) a leaden Colored or dark Spot, inform of an half Moon, or Semicirculer. The Flowers grow in long spiked Clusters upon long Stems, either blewish or whitish, or whitish red; after which, comes a small, blackish, brownish, or redish Colored flat Seed: the whole Plant has no hot, sharp, or biting Taste with it, as has the Hidropiper, or the biting Arsmart, in the next Chapter; but rather almost sowerish like Sorrel, cooling and drying, or else almost without Taste. The Greater is like the former in all respects, but the Stalks, Leaves, Spikes, and Seed are every way much larger.
IV. The first sort of the white flowered Virginian Arsmart, has a woody Root consisting of a great bush of long black strings or threads, wich Perish not Yearly, but abide, tho the Stalks with the Leaves may die away, and Spring again the next Year: from this Root rises up several hard round green Stalks with many great Joynts on them as the other has; and fair, large, broad, dark, blewish, green, smooth Edged, and long pointed Leaves, spotted oftentimes like our English or Common sort before described, and sometimes without spots, many of them six Inches long and better, and three Inches and a half broad, with several Composing Veins rising from the middle Rib, and others less and transverse; at the tops of the Stalks, and from the Joynts with the Leaves, Spring Branches of spiked white Flowers, like close Grains as in the other, but greater, and succeeded by black and flat shining Seed.
V. The second sort of blush or flesh Colored Virginian Arsmart, has also a like woody Root, thick, with many Fibres at it, but greater and more Woody than the former, from whence Springs up sraight round Stalks, much higher than the last, with much larger and narrower Leaves, marked also oftentimes with Spots in the like manner, and often also without those Spots: this also has many more Branches of Flowers, which are much shorter Spikes, or bob Spikes, and very much thicker set with fine blush Colored, or flesh-Colored flowers, much larger than the former, which gives also much the like Seed, but in greater plenty.
VI. The Places. The Lesser and Greater English sorts grow by the sides of Rivers and Ditches; the Lesser almost every where both in standing and running Waters, and in such places as are many times wet in Winter, and dry in Summer, and in other moist Grounds in most parts of this Kingdom, where it may many times be gotten almost in Cart Loads. The Larger sort has been found in great plenty, in the Lands and Furrows of Hedington Field above St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, half a Mile from Oxford. The Virginian Kinds are only to be had with us in our Gardens, nourished up by such as are Curious.
VII. The Times. The English Arsmarts Flower only in June and July; and their Seed is ripe in August: But the Virginian Kinds Flower with us much later, and scarcely perfect their Seed here.
VIII. The Qualities. They are cold and dry in the first Degree: Alteratives, Astringents, Incrassatives, Repercussives, Glutinatives, Anodyns, and Traumaticks or Vulneraries: Also Hystericks and Arthriticks.
IX. The Specification. Its peculiar property is in curing of Wounds, and healing old running Sores and Ulcers.
X. The Preparations. There are taken from it, 1. The Green Leaves. 2. The Distilled Water. 3. The Mixture. 4. The Juice. 5. The Essence. 6. The Ointment. 7. The Balsam. 8. The Cataplasm.
XI. The Green Herb. Authors say, that if a handful of Arsmart wet in Water, and apply’d for some time to a Wound, or Sore, and afterwards Buried in moist Ground, or under a Stone, as the Herb rotts, so the Sore will Miraculously heal. And being put on Horses or other Cattels Sores, ’twill drive away Flies in Summer time.
XII. The Distilled Water. Being mixt with a half part of Aqua Vitæ, and bathed on any pained place for a Week, more or less; it will perfectly take away the pain.
XIII. The Mixture. Take the Distilled Water, Ox Gall, Oil of Spike, of each equal parts, mix them well together by shaking them in a Glass. This anointed upon any place troubled with the Gout, and a Flanel dipt in the same, being also apply’d, takes away the pain thereof.
XIV. The Juice. If therewith any old running Sore, or old Ulcer, is constantly washed, it cleanses and heals it: it is also excellent to be put into Diet Drinks for Wounded Persons, and such as have old and running Sores upon them: and washing the Sores of Beasts therewith, it keeps Flies from them.
XV. The Essence. It is more powerful than the Juice, and is more useful to all Intentions, healing also much more outwardly, being apply’d.
XVI. The Ointment. It is excellent against all hot Swellings and Inflamations in any part of the Body, especially being apply’d in the beginning, being somthing Repercussive: it also allays Inflamations in Wounds and Ulcers, and eases pains proceeding from a hot Cause.
XVII. The Balsam. Being made of the Bruised Herb boiled in Oil Olive, and made into a Balsam with Turpentine and Wax, It heals all sorts of green Wounds wonderfully; it cools, drys and heals; and therefore is good for putrified Sores, and running Ulcers, whether in Man or Beast, cleansing purifying, incarnating them, and healing them.
XVIII. The Cataplasm. The Herb beaten with Rue and Wormiwod, and heat very hot in a Frying-Pan, and apply’d to the Bowells, as hot as can be endured, in a Cholick, it gives present ease to a Wonder.
Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
This chapter has been proofread by Peppercat / Lisa Haller.